In October 1809 it was decided to build a canal to join the Bristol Channel and the English Channel. This was designed to save the long and often dangerous haul by sea around Land's End and was to run from the River Parrett at Bridgwater to Beer.
The Taunton to Chard section passed just west of Ilton.
Before the whole canal could be completed the project clashed with the planned railway between Taunton and Chard. The Taunton to Chard section of the canal opened in 1842, but never paid its way and eventually closed in 1866.
The remains of the abandoned canal can be seen just off Merrifield Lane and runs northwards near to the Airfield boundary.
More information can be found here:
And for a leaflet which shows the Stop Line Way and the railway and canal: